When it comes to touring Malaysia, most would probably gravitate toward Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Malacca, or Langkawi. This leaves many other great cities and areas skipped over, with many tourists missing out on plenty of great sights and fun adventures. One of these often-overlooked places in Johor Bahru, with Legoland Malaysia being seen as it’s an only big draw for both local and foreign tourists.
However, Johor Bahru is anything but boring! In fact, there are plenty of reasons why you should check out Johor Bahru tour packages and head south of Kuala Lumpur for a vacation. Want to know what those reasons are? Here are a few hidden gems in JB that even some locals may not have visited themselves.
Firefly Valley Leisure Park
If you’re looking for a break from the hustle and bustle of the city, Kota Tinggi is your retreat. Specifically, the Firefly Valley Leisure Park offers a restful break interspersed with fun activities while you’re surrounded by the beauty of nature. The park has a mini farm where you can interact and feed animals like turtles, rabbits, and goats. There’s also a restaurant, playgrounds for children, along with beautiful pathways and garden areas where you can relax and simply enjoy the peaceful environment.
Of course, the highlight is the firefly watching tour. You can choose either to walk in the mangrove forest or ride a boat to the middle of the river to watch thousands of fireflies light up the trees and the water. It’s truly magical sight, and you have to experience it for yourself to truly appreciate its beauty! And for those who want to stay overnight, Firefly Valley Leisure Park also offers a two-day camping package, which includes access to the mini-farm and the firefly watching tour. Part of your day will be dedicated to a bit of field study, which is a great addition especially if you’re traveling with children. You’ll also be provided with camping tents, as well as breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
If you don’t have enough money to get to Paris (yet), you can go to Jalan Jaya Putra 1/1 in Mount Austin and visit Johor Bahru’s Little Paris. With its high-fashion shopping boutiques, cute cafes, and cobblestone streets, Little Paris certainly has that classy European vibe. It’s especially beautiful at night when it’s lit up with strings of colorful lights. From time to time, Little Paris also holds festivals and other events, and everyone’s free to join in and enjoy.
For those who love pretty confections and yummy baked treats, Gourmandises is a must-visit. This corner bakery is owned by a French-Chinese lady, so you know you’re getting the real deal. The authentic creations here are delightfully intricate, so make sure to take a lot of photos before you take a bite or dig in.
Do you love taking selfies? How about photos of gardens and unique buildings? You’ll have plenty of opportunities to do these at Kota Iskandar. This administrative center (formerly Johor State New Administrative Centre of JSNAC) is located near Puteri Harbour and Legoland and was developed as the first phase of the Iskandar Puteri Project.
Inside the complex, you can visit three themed courtyards: the Musk Garden, the Flower garden, and the Johor Atrium. The structures and general layout of the space are inspired by Johor Malay and Moorish-Andalusian designs. You can easily spend two to three hours here, just taking photos and taking in the beautiful sights. You may even catch some couples taking engagement or wedding photos while you’re here, as the place has plenty of spots to take some gorgeous and romantic pictures.
You may be surprised, but Johor Bahru really does have a beautiful, unspoiled island in the form of Pulau Rawa. It boasts fine white sands, crystal clear waters, and coral reefs teeming with marine life. There are limited developments in Pulau Rawa, which means it’s basically unspoiled. In fact, when you venture further inland, you’ll find that it’s still covered with thick tropical rainforests. The island also has a strict “reduce, reuse, recycle” policy to help preserve its pristine condition. There’s also no fishing allowed, but why would you want to fish anyway? Instead, you can spend your time in Pulau Rawa swimming, snorkeling, and sunbathing—or just laying in a hammock as the swishing palms and the crashing waves lull you to sleep.
If you think there’s nothing interesting or fascinating in Johor Bahru, think again. These best-kept secrets are just a few of the things that await you in the humble city of JB. Visit soon—you’ll be glad you did!